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Consequences of not treating anemia??

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Old 06-24-2010, 08:31 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 9
gwood HB User
Consequences of not treating anemia??

I am hoping someone could shed some light on what happens if anemia is left untreated? Will it just rectify itself? My numbers have been dropping for some time now the lowest my hemoglobin got to was an 8 and ferritin of 5. I had IV iron therapy 3 months ago and the numbers crept up to Hemoglobin of 11 and ferritin of 8. However the IV iron treatment caused some terrible side effects so that is not an option again and over the month my numbers have begun to fall again and my current figures stand at:

Hemoglobin: 9.9
Ferritin: 7
MCH: 24
Hematocrit - 32%
MCHC: 28%
WBC - 3.5

Although this is only very mild anemia I am concerned that as I'm not responding to oral iron and can’t have IV iron whether there are any consequences or risks of my hemoglobin and ferritin continuing to fall and what could happen if I don't treat it? I was refered to a hematologist by my family physician but as they can't find out what is wrong with me they won't be seeing me again their only advice is to continue taking 3 ferrous sulphate tablets a day.

I have a multitude of other health problems which all developed alongside the anemia but no one has been able to figure out what is wrong with me - low white blood cells, low platalets, elevated liver function tests etc etc. I'm finding it incredibly difficult to function on a daily basis, I'm absolutely exhausted, lethargic, irritable and my mood has become completely unpredictable - I found myself welling up in tears this morning for no apparent reason. I also do a lot of triathlon training - swimming, cycling and running and wonder (on average 3hrs a day 5/6 days a week) and I don't know if this will make it any worse or actually a benefit, I push myself on a daily basis to get out and train in fear that if I stop or cut down I may find I give it up altogether (triathlons are a major part of my life). I feel as if I have reached a dead end, i'm struggling to function now and don't quite know how I will manage if this actually gets worse - (I don't know how the people on this board manage to get by with the really low numbers). I'm on the three iron tablets a day, which I take with vitamin c to try and enhance absorption, avoid caffiene and calcium with meals and have a very iron rich diet. Any advice would be much appreciated of anything else I can be doing to increase my levels or should be avoiding.

Last edited by gwood; 06-25-2010 at 06:11 AM.

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Old 06-25-2010, 01:47 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: HSV, AR
Posts: 58
Boozjee HB User
Re: Consequences of not treating anemia??

Oh my goodness gwood, I feel your pain. I don't absorb iron either and I do everything you do and then some to enhance the absorption. I was up to 6 or more ferrous sulfate tablets - the highest mg. tablets. The last time I was able to see a doctor, she seemed unconcerned. She said to just keep taking them. It would be nice if there was a doctor who would be interested in finding out "why" I'm not absorbing it.

Some of the other problems you described are probably related to the anemia. The elevated liver function tests for one. The fatigue, lethargy, and mood changes too. What's worse, is that our bodies require even more iron when we're really physically active. So your triathlon training is putting additional strain on your iron stores.

I can't do much more than I'm already doing since I don't have insurance, but if you do, you might consider going to another doctor and ask that he/she find out what the underlying problem is. Most doctors don't want to spend more than 15 on a patient and if it looks like you have something that might be time consuming to diagnose, they will dismiss you. If one doctor doesn't want to help you, find another. I know I will next time. I'm not going to be dismissed again with, "Just keep taking your iron".

Old 07-01-2010, 12:39 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Carmel IN
Posts: 582
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Re: Consequences of not treating anemia??

I had terrible trouble with the ferrous sulfate tablets. And other forms of gentler iron didn't work on me - all had undesirable side effects.

someone on this board recommended Floradix - it's a liquid iron. I started using it and it worked. It's very expensive, and it tastes terrible, but it works, so I do it. I mix it with juice and drink it through a straw. Twice a day. It's the only thing that raised my hemoglobin. It might work for you too. I hope it does.

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